A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders to prosecute driver in the deaths of five family members in crash

Staff report

Kenton County Commmonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders has executed an arrest warrant charging five counts of murder and will prosecute the lone survivor in a crash in Independence last week that killed five members of the same family.

Each count of murder is punishable by 20-50 years or life in prison.

Rob Sanders at the press conference.

Daniel Gries, 57, the driver of the vehicle that crossed left of center on Staffordsburg Road, is under medical care at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, having been airlifted there from the scene. His Honda Pilot hit head-on with a 1993 Honda Accord driven by Rodney Pollitt Jr., 26.

In Pollitt’s car were Samantha Malohn, 27, and their children Hailieann Pollitt, age 9, Brenden Pollitt, age 8, and Cailie Pollitt, age 6.

All five died at the scene.

The two-vehicle accident happened around 5 p.m. last Thursday in the 11700 block of Staffordsburg Road in Independence, Kentucky.

Greis was transported by medical helicopter to University of Cincinnati Medical Center for treatment of his injuries.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, Sanders praised the Kenton County Police Department Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction (STAR) unit for their investigation of the crash.

Samantha Malohn and Rodney Pollitt died in the crash.

“This has been a very emotional case for everyone involved,” Sanders said. “There has not been a crash with this loss of life in all the time I have practiced law. Five innocent lives were lost. . . Kenton Couty polic have been on top of this investigation, working non-stop.”

While the investigation continues, Gries will be charged with homicide. The arrest warrant was issued last Friday but was held until Gries could be served. He is now housed under guard at the medical facility.

Sanders said he had been drinking and was driving erratically, based on reports from eyewitnesses.

He described the road as a “heavily travelled county road” and very curvy.

“Speed was a factor,” Sanders said.

Sanders also mentioned a fundraiser planned by the Independence Firefighters Union who were among the first responders to the accident scene.

It will take place at 6 p.m. on Nov. 18 at St. Barbara Church. Volunteers will auction off items to raise money for the family’s funeral expenses and to set up a scholarship fund for Grant County Schools.

Independence Firefighters Union said firefighters are planning the fundraiser to honor the family, hoping it will help the community and first responders heal.

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